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You’ve Got To Be Kitten Me, Part 3

, , , , , | Right | January 5, 2022

I work as a volunteer at a no-kill animal shelter that will take back any pets that were adopted but returned, and, while I know there are some people that should not have pets, I am still taken by surprise by the audacity of one cat’s return.

Twelve years ago, a couple adopted a sweet kitten, and we thought that everything ended happily ever after. Cut to the present day, and the now twelve-year-old cat was brought back despite all those long, happy years spent together.

The reason?

The new kitten didn’t like her!

You’ve Got To Be Kitten Me, Part 2
You’ve Got To Be Kitten Me

Customers Like This Can Really Get Your Goat

, | Right | November 27, 2021

I work at a pet rehoming centre, and people often use it like a free zoo. I am walking to my car at the end of the day, and I see some people looking lost.

Me: “Are you okay?”

Woman: “How do we get in?”

Me: “There isn’t a main entrance, just different sections; however, we’re closed now, I’m afraid.”

Woman: “Isn’t there anyone that can show us around?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we’re closed. Everyone has either gone or is going home.”

Woman: “But we’ve been stuck in traffic; we’ve travelled three hours to get here. Are you sure there isn’t anyone who can show us around?”

Me: “No, we’re closed.”

Woman: “Aren’t there any animals we can look at?”

Me: “There are some goats by the car park over there, but I’m afraid that’s it.”

They finally wandered off to look at the goats and I quickly got into my car and drove off!

If You Don’t Want An Animal That Gets Excited, Maybe Don’t Go For A Dog

, , , | Right | September 2, 2021

My boyfriend and I have been trying to adopt a dog for a couple of months. We’re not having any luck because our landlord only allows dogs under twenty-five pounds and small dogs get snapped up quickly where I live. I’m scrolling through a rescue shelter website one day when I find a corgi/Boston terrier mix that would be perfect for us. They are presenting him and several other dogs at an adoption fair the following weekend, and we decide to go.

On the day of the event, we head down to the location to find a madhouse. Due to the high amount of stress and multiple new people, the dogs are barking up a storm, acting very rambunctious in their crates. This is common, and we understand the dog isn’t going to act like that all the time, so we still want to see him. It’s a first-come basis, and we are about halfway down the list, so we wait patiently. We get to see the corgi in his crate beforehand and already know we’ll love him. 

When it’s our turn, we notice that none of the dogs have been adopted yet. The volunteer lets us take the dog out of his crate and outside the building for some one-on-one time. The volunteer gives us the rundown on the corgi.

Volunteer: “And I do have to let you know the way he acts in the crate inside is not a reflection of how he normally acts.”

Boyfriend: “Oh, we know. Lots going on in there; it’s kind of hard for them not to get excited with so many people around. Once he has time to be in a neutral environment, I’m sure he’ll calm down.”

The volunteer was dumbfounded. We later learned the other dogs weren’t adopted because the people thought they’d act this rambunctious and loud all the time, not giving them a chance to really show what they were like. It was sad, really. We adopted our little corgi, and he is one of the calmest dogs we’ve ever had.

Hungry Like The Wolfdog

, , , , , | Working | April 5, 2021

I volunteered with a wolfdog hybrid rescue farm. We had a pack of wolfdogs that were permanent residents at the farm, as having other wolfdogs coming in and out of the pack would have been traumatic for them. About half the farm, however, was set aside for the adoptable animals. They were held in large pens by themselves. On the weekends, it was one of my jobs to clean out the individual pens. There was plenty of poop from the week. During the winter, I would jokingly refer to what I picked up as “poopsicles.”

One very cold winter day, it was not much more than 20 degrees F (about -7 degrees C). I entered one of the pens that held a wolfdog. I greeted her, gave her a scratch between the ears, and went about picking up the poopsicles with tongs and placing them in the bucket I carried. There was a decent amount of snow that had accumulated on the ground, so it was easy to find my targets.

As my last task, I had to break the ice in the large water bowl so the wolfdog would have access to her water. I stepped to the bowl and started smashing through the layer of ice with the heel of my boot. All of a sudden, I heard a frightening sound: a menacing growl. I had been a volunteer there for years and never heard any of the wolfdogs make a noise like that. I slowly turned my head and saw the wolfdog standing not ten feet from me. She had fluffed up her fur to appear bigger and was baring her teeth at me. I was terrified. I started backing slowly toward the door, keeping the wolfdog in my field of vision but not making eye contact. I reached the door, felt behind me, and unlatched the handle. I made my exit. It was only after I was safely outside that I realized I was not breathing. I sat on the ground for a moment and regained my composure.

It was only after I got the owner of the rescue to come over that we were able to piece together the reason for the unusual behavior. She had been fed raw deer meat the previous day which she had not finished. She stashed what remained in the corner of her pen, behind her water bowl, under some snow. I simply was not aware of its existence and broke a cardinal rule: never get between a wolfdog and his or her food. I was fortunate to have received a warning from her before she did something physical. All in all, it was by far the most frightening experience I had as a volunteer there, and perhaps one of the most frightening of my entire life.

This Story Is A Real Treat

, , , , , | Working | October 29, 2020

In 2013, I spend a few weeks in Ireland, where I volunteer full-time at a small local dog rescue. English is a second language for me and I speak it fairly well, but I don’t speak Irish at all.

In the afternoon, when most of the daily chores are taken care of, I am free to take some of the dogs for a longer walk or cuddle and play with them.

One of the dogs in the kennels is a very timid adult male border collie, a stray who arrived a day or two before I did. He is very wary of humans and the constant barking and noise in the shelter stress him out. Consequently, he doesn’t eat well and spends most of the day curled up in the far back corner of his kennel. Whenever I can, I take him out for a long walk so he can get away from the stressful environment and relax a bit. It is quite a challenge as he is not used to walking on a leash, and close contact with humans makes him incredibly nervous. We usually walk for a bit until we find a nice, quiet spot where we sit down two or three meters apart and just enjoy the view.

Over the course of about two weeks, we manage to build some trust and he calms down considerably during our walks. One day, when we arrive at our usual spot, instead of keeping his distance as usual, he sits down right next to me and even accepts the treat I offer him!

Back in the kennels, I find the manager to tell her about the progress I made with the dog.

Me: “We’ve come so far! He came right up and sat with me, and he let me give him a treat!”

The manager seems confused for a bit.

Manager: “Which dog is that? What’s his name?”

I tell her and describe him. Suddenly, she starts laughing out loud and can’t seem to stop.

Apparently, this dog didn’t have a name when they picked him up from the pound. Because they received a few black and white border collies from two different locations on the same day, she just wrote down the name of the location on the little whiteboard at the front of the kennel and forgot to change it to a proper name later on. However, I didn’t notice this and just assumed it was some Irish name I had never heard of before. We laugh about it and agree to find a good name that suits him.

A few days later, the manager approaches me, asking about the dog’s progress.

Manager: “The other volunteers tell me that the dog outright refuses to be taken out of his kennel for a walk and that he still doesn’t eat properly or take treats from anyone.”

Confused, I grab a collar and leash and take her to his kennel, where he is curled up in a corner as usual. I call him by his name and he immediately comes to the front, shyly wagging his tail. I put the leash on him and take him outside the building where I hand him a few treats that he basically inhales.

Manager: “Well, I guess the dog is yours now.”

She turns around and goes back to work.

For a few days, I contemplate whether I can actually take on the responsibility of having a dog — I am still a university student on a tight budget — especially a former stray that has no training and probably comes with a good load of bad experiences and trauma. But finally, I decide to take him with me to Germany. We still haven‘t come up with a new name for the paperwork, and since he already responds to the one accidentally given to him, I decide to keep it.

And this is the story of how my dog, Mayo, got himself a new home and a rather unique name.

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

Read the next Feel Good roundup story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for October 2020!